Sounds Like Seven
An Encompassing Atmosphere
Recorded July 1970
Cover Design & Collage: Joe Hendrick
Recording Engineer: Hank O'Neal
Halcyon Records HAL 103
The Marian McPartland Trio
Michael Moore: Bass
Jimmy Madison: Drums
Billy Hart: Drums
From the back cover: I imagine you would like to know something about the pieces on this album. All of Michael Moore's compositions – "Hide and Seek with the Bombay Bicycle Club," "Rime," "Sounds Like Seven," and "Wisdom of the Heart" – have been performed in clubs and at concerts we have done together, so they are not new, but the playing of them always is, for we are constantly creating fresh ideas for them.
We all felt very relaxed in the intimate setting of Sherman Fairchild's house. Sherman himself supervised the date in a casual, easy-going way, looking in on us every now and then to see how we were doing, making encouraging observations about the music as he heard the various playbacks.
It was sheer pleasure listening to each other, exchanging ideas, getting outside, and inside each piece – everything we did seemed to come off sell.
My own tune "Ambiance" was written after hearing Herbie Hancock's group while I was on the road last year. Listening to other musicians will often act as a catalyst for me, inspiring me to write music of my own.
Anyone who has been to Aspen, Colorado, can picture the aspen trees, their round, silvery leaves rustling in the soft breeze. Before the date we had just spent a week-end there, and I wanted to recreate the memory of it in the music. I had a certain sound in mind, which Jimmy and Mike captured perfectly with the wind chimes, and I reached into the piano and played on the strings like a harp. The wind chimes are so soft you hardly hear them at first, then Jimmy adds a touch of the brushes on the cymbal, and finally comes a little melodic line on the piano.
On "Rime" and "Hide and Seek" you can hear the ideas mesh, and the subtle changes in tempo. There's humor in the unexpectedness of Jimmy Madison's playing – he's fearless, darting in and out like quicksilver, scattering complex rhythmic patterns all around. The element of surprise is often apparent – Mike Moore suddenly stopped playing in the middle of "What is This Thing Called Love?", leaving Jimmy and me too develop an idea without him. That's what makes working with these musicians so exhilarating. – no matter what one of us might do, the others would be ready to embellish, carry on an idea, or start a fresh one.
"Sound Like Seven" is in 7/4 time – a repeating bass figure through which the drums keep a steady rhythm, a rubato melodic line on piano superimposed over the rhythm, but not in tempo with it – creating a sort of free-floating effect in contrast to the insistent bass figure, low-key, but intense. There is also some humor and occasionally sadness, that can change to excitement in a split second.
To me, playing this freely means discipline, and empathy with the other players, so that no one "takes over." Sometimes I might draw the thread of an idea from Mike, and interweave it into a pattern of my own, relinquishing it to Jimmy when he starts a contrasting rhythmic figure, so that there is constant shift of emphasis and a flowing through if ideas from one to another.
Billy Hart plays drums on only two tunes – "Glimpse' and "Wisdom of the Heart." His style is different from Jimmy Madison's in that it is more taut, more percussive, and his ideas, like Jimmy's are strongly individual, forceful and direct. He develops some interesting effects on "Glimpse" with wood block, bells, cymbal, and a variety of drum-beats that give it form and shape we hadn't planned when we started. As a matter of fact, we hadn't planned anything when we started!
Mike thought that everyone played quite differently on this session. "We were freer and looser than in a club," he said, "and this has never happened to me before on a record date. Everything was relaxed, light, and happy." And it really was. – Marian McPartland
What Is This Thing Called Love
Sounds Like Seven
Three Little Words
Hide And Seek With The Bombay Bicycle Club
Why Wisdom Of The Heart